The First Stars and Stripes - Bloomfield, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 36° 53.059 W 089° 55.743
16S E 238958 N 4086046
Marker giving history of the founding of the military newspaper "Stars and Stripes" in Bloomfield, Missouri.
Waymark Code: WMHQ2F
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 08/02/2013
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 3

Text of marker:

The First
Stars And Stripes

On Saturday, November 2, 1861, Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant directed Colonel Richard J. Oglesby of the 8th Illinois Infantry Regiment to move from Bird's Point, Missouri, to destroy Brigadier General Jeff Thompson's Confederate forces in Stoddard County, Missouri.

On the following Tuesday Oglesby started for Bloomfield, the county seat of Stoddard County, with 2,200 men from the 8th, 11th, 18th and 29th Illinois Regiments.  They had to cross a seven-mile-wide swamp that one soldier described as "covered with black moss four inches deep and so thick that 'tis like a carpet.  That was an awful gloomy road and I was glad enough to land at a nice clean stream and have orders to pitch tents."

Oglesby's force arrived in Bloomfield around 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 8, to find that Thompson's forces had moved south.  That evening ten Union soldiers entered the abandoned Bloomfield Herald newspaper office and, according to Captain Daniel H. Brush of the 18th Illinois Regiment, " Some printers belonging to our regtt. and the others have taken possession of the printing office and design publishing a paper tonight."  By morning of November 9, 1861, The Stars and Stripes was in print and being distributed to Union soldiers in the town.  There were only a few copies printed and no doubt the word was: "Read it and pass it on to a buddy."

The first Stars and Stripers who acted to print this first issue:

  • PVT Benson T. Atherton of Fairfield, Illinois (wounded at For Donelson, Tenn.)
  • 1st LT John H. Barton of Anna, Illinois (the only officer in the group, soon discharged due to general disabilities and failing eyesight)
  • PVT James T. Boseman of Carmi, Illinois (later transferred to the regimental band)
  • PVT Charles M. Edwards of Shawneetown, Illinois (wounded at Fort Donelson, Tenn.)
  • CPL Theodore Edmondson of Fairfield, Illinois (later detailed as a hospital nurse)
  •  Sgt Major Otis P. Martin of Peoria, Illinois (assigned to take charge of the government printing office in Jackson, Tenn., in July of 1862)
  • PVT Walter A. Rhue of Carmi, Illinois (discharged after Fort Donelson, Tenn.)
  • SGT John W. Schell of Fairfield, Illinois (wounded and taken prisoner at Vicksburg, later farmed in Alabama and serve as a wagon master in the Spanish-American War)
  • SGT Robert F Stewart of Carmi, Illinois (he became ill at Fort Donelson, Tenn. and never regained his health, losing most of his eyesight)
  • PVT Thomas Walsh of Peoria, Illinois (wounded at Fort Donelson, Tenn. and suffered sunstroke in the siege of Vicksburg, but remained with his unity until July 30, 1864)

On November 9, 2011, the 150th anniversary of the first printing of The Stars and Stripes in Bloomfield, Missouri, the words used by U.S. General of the Army, George C. Marshall,to describe the newspaper, as printed in the first World War II issue from London, England, still ring true:

"It Represents The Free Thought And
Free Expression Of A Free People"

Sponsored By the Missouri Press Association 

Web link: Not listed

History of Mark: Not listed

Additional point: Not Listed

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